Cristiano Ronaldo must be the hero for injury-hit Real Madrid to beat Atletico

The Champions League quarterfinal second leg between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid hangs perilously in the balance, the scoreline 0-0 from last week’s game at the Calderon. Wednesday’s hosts, Real Madrid, have suffered a slew of injuries to many of their top stars (Gareth Bale, Luka Modric and Marcelo, with Karim Benzema also ruled out) while facing an Atleti side that has had Los Blancos’ number of late.

If Cristiano Ronaldo didn’t already face this situation, he’d probably have to invent it for himself. Over the long years when he’s put his mind and body through the most severe tests, it’s probably a situation precisely like this one which he imagined and employed to remorselessly drive himself to footballing immortality.

Cristiano Ronaldo must be the hero for injury-hit Real Madrid to beat Atletico

Cristiano Ronaldo must be the hero for injury-hit Real Madrid to beat Atletico
Cristiano Ronaldo must be the hero for injury-hit Real Madrid to beat Atletico

Handsome Portuguese hero faces peril, previously stalwart colleagues fall by the wayside, the danger needle reaches the red zone — but Ronaldo rescues the day.

Ronaldo’s challenge is football’s equivalent of the predicament that Marvel would invent for, say, Iron Man or Spiderman. You put the hero, CR7, in a situation where the odds seem impossibly stacked against him. And, as a secondary narrative, his main “enemy” not only stands to profit from Ronaldo’s inevitable downfall, but he is, by comparison, under no threat whatsoever as life looks set smooth and fair for him.

For “enemy,” read Lionel Messi — 3-1 up with Barcelona against PSG and with one divine left foot in the Champions League semifinals.

So to this week’s plot: The back-story is that Real Madrid start to believe they’ve once more subjugated their closest, most historic rival. But Atletico, having had the temerity to end a 14-year losing streak, spend the past year becoming muscular and aggressive. They win the 2014 Spanish title but, in extremis, the Real Madrid Empire strikes back and finally vanquishes them in the 2013-14 Champions League final.
The Champions League quarterfinal second leg between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid hangs perilously in the balance, the scoreline 0-0 from last week’s game at the Calderon. Wednesday’s hosts, Real Madrid, have suffered a slew of injuries to many of their top stars (Gareth Bale, Luka Modric and Marcelo, with Karim Benzema also ruled out) while facing an Atleti side that has had Los Blancos’ number of late.

If Cristiano Ronaldo didn’t already face this situation, he’d probably have to invent it for himself. Over the long years when he’s put his mind and body through the most severe tests, it’s probably a situation precisely like this one which he imagined and employed to remorselessly drive himself to footballing immortality.

Handsome Portuguese hero faces peril, previously stalwart colleagues fall by the wayside, the danger needle reaches the red zone — but Ronaldo rescues the day.

Ronaldo’s challenge is football’s equivalent of the predicament that Marvel would invent for, say, Iron Man or Spiderman. You put the hero, CR7, in a situation where the odds seem impossibly stacked against him. And, as a secondary narrative, his main “enemy” not only stands to profit from Ronaldo’s inevitable downfall, but he is, by comparison, under no threat whatsoever as life looks set smooth and fair for him.

For “enemy,” read Lionel Messi — 3-1 up with Barcelona against PSG and with one divine left foot in the Champions League semifinals.

So to this week’s plot: The back-story is that Real Madrid start to believe they’ve once more subjugated their closest, most historic rival. But Atletico, having had the temerity to end a 14-year losing streak, spend the past year becoming muscular and aggressive. They win the 2014 Spanish title but, in extremis, the Real Madrid Empire strikes back and finally vanquishes them in the 2013-14 Champions League final.